As a foreign national student traveling to the United States to attend school, you must buy adequate health insurance coverage so that you can be granted your J1 visa. Your school should be able to provide the information you need so you can find an insurance company that sells the right type of J1 visa health insurance.

U.S. immigration laws require that foreign nationals crossing all U.S. borders for the purpose of enrolling in an institute of higher learning show proof that they have purchased a health insurance plan that provides at least the following levels of coverage: medical benefits of at least $50,000 per illness or accident; at least $7,500 to cover repatriation of your remains (returning your body to your home country if you die in the U.S.) at least $10,000 to cover your expenses should you need to be evaluated to your home country because of an illness or accident; you are required to pay a deductible that does not exceed $500 per illness or accident. Should you have a pre-existing condition, you may have to wait to receive insurance coverage for that condition.

In addition to these requirements, U.S. immigration law requires that the companies underwriting these international student health insurance policies carry an A.M. Best rating of A- or higher; hold an Insurance Solvency International, Ltd rating of A-1 or higher; hold a Standard and Poor’s (S&P) claims paying ability of A-1 or higher, or carry a Weiss Research, Inc. rating of at least B+. All foreign national students planning to live and study in the U.S. can research the insurance plans that are available for purchase, based on their health needs. The insurance plan you select should be backed by your home country’s government.

Your J1 visa health insurance plan should ideally be underwritten by a health maintenance organization that is federally qualified by the Health Care Financing Administration (under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Health and Human services).